The Next Karate Kid is no longer the embarrassing thing on Hilary Swank's resume. The Reaping is a movie that skates close to total incompetence, neither following its own rules, or seeming to care one way or the other. It focuses on the adventures of Katherine Winter, (Swank) who is something of a gymrat Amazing Randi, turning up at sites where local yokels think they've witnessed a miracle and spoon-feeding them some good old fashioned, God-hating science. When a Southern Caricature named Doug (David Morrissey) asks Amazing Hilary to come down to his town because, um, they're undergoing the ten biblical plagues down there, she doesn't snare him in a butterfly net but happily packs her bags. Let me stop here and mention that, having never seen or heard of actor David Morrissey before this film, I wrote in my notes: "If this guy is Southern, why the English accent?" When I got home, I looked up Morrissey's IMDB page and saw that he was, in fact, English. That's how much The Reaping cares about its details.

Once arrived in Mississippi Burningville, Swank and her overtly-religious partner, played by Idris Elba, begin to take notice of a local family that is being shunned by polite society because of a hazy perception that they are devil-worshippers, and have caused the local river to turn red. The little girl of the family, Loren (AnnaSophia Robb) is so feared by the local rubes, in fact, that at one point they are ready to set off in pickups to kill her. Swank and Co. must set about rowing through the river, colored a convincing shade of red through impressive special effects, in order to determine the scientific reason for the discoloration and calm down the God-fearing populace. At one point a few frogs also plop down from the sky into the river, but I couldn't figure out if that was supposed to count as a separate plague or the same one. And by the way, if a biblical plague is town-specific, which it apparently is, can't you just move one town over?